Cabot Tower

Cabot Tower, at the top of Brandon Hill was designed by Bristol architect William Venn Gough and its construction paid for by public subscription.

Inside there is a circular staircase to the first level and a spiral staircase to the second level where windows give panoramic views over the city and beyond.

Closed to public access in 2007 for repairs because of minor structural damage, it was reopened in summer 2011.

The foundation stone was laid in 1897, the 400th anniversary of the master mariner's voyage to North America. by the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava and it was opened on 5th September 1898, On each of the four sides of the tower are engravings of various crests.

Having climbed to the tower's balcony one visitor in 1898 claimed that standing there in the breeze was 'as good as going to the seaside', but another visitor said the smoke from a number of chinmeys clouded the picture in places, though the Cathedral stood out conspicuously.

The tower is principally made of red sandstone with dressings of cream coloured Bath stone. The winged figure at the apex of the 30ft spire represents Commerce.

After it was opened there was still a small deficit in funds required to coiver the construction expenses, so a Cabot exbition was arranged at the Drill Hall,. Exhibits included a model of the Tower which reached to within an inch or two of the ceiling'' by Mr Coleman, scenic artist of the Prince's Theatre and more unusually a model of the Tower moulded in 'some hundredweight' of soap by Messr sChristopher Thomas and Bros. It was noted that the soap construction did not attempt to show any of the carving..

The exhibition featured animated photographs, phonographs, automatic machines and glass engraving as well as palmistry and phrenology, plus bands and vocalists, all for an admission price of 6d.

At 105 feet high, perched amidst floral splendour on top of Brandon Hill, Cabot Tower is a significant landmark visible from many parts of the city. The top of Brandon Hill is 260 feet above the Harbour.
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